Think You Have An Eating Disorder? Here Are Some Signs

It may sound unbelievable, but people can suffer from a severe eating disorder and not even know it. You would think just looking in a mirror would give them a clue, but if a person suffers from body dysmorphia, they may not see themselves as they truly are.

Part of this is denial, which is part of the disease. Many eating disorders are about control, and to admit you have a problem is to admit things are out of control. And, part of the reason for denial is the proverbial frog-in-slowly-heating-water theory. They've had it so long, and symptoms started so early, that it's their norm.

Do you think you might have an eating disorder? Consider whether you exhibit any of these classic signs and symptoms.

Relationship With Food

People with eating disorders have unhealthy relationships with food. Unlike most people, eating is not a pleasurable experience. They get no joy from food, only stress. The very idea of eating can give them anxiety. Their world begins to revolve around food—they obsess over it, and over ways to avoid it.

Does the idea of eating anything stress you out? Do you chew and spit out food to avoid the calories? Do you try to avoid eating, especially around other people? Do you dread when other people bring up the topic of food? Are you always preoccupied with counting calories and measuring portions? Do you get obsessed with the newest health fads and diets? These can be warning signs that you've gone beyond casual dieting.

Fear of Being Discovered

When you are in denial about an eating disorder, you find yourself lying a lot to cover your tracks. You decline dinner invitations, or show up late with an excuse. When people offer you food, you claim that you already ate (though usually, you didn't). If there really is nothing wrong with your eating habits, you wouldn't feel the need to hide the truth.

Dangerous Behaviors

Some people may avoid food altogether or restrict calories; others may eat, or even binge, and then feel so distressed about it that they feel like they have to get rid of the calories.

Do you ever induce vomiting after a meal to get rid of the calories? Do you use laxatives or other "cleansers" regularly to purge what you've eaten? Do you try to compensate for what you've eaten by excessive exercise, or by fasting for a while?

These behaviors are a major red flag for eating disorders.

Physical Symptoms

When you're not eating enough, your body tries to tell you. You may get fatigued, muscle weakness, sensitive to cold, brain fog, or mood swings. When things get more serious, you may notice your menstrual cycle becomes erratic; you may get headaches, blurred vision, heart palpitations, seizures, or other physical severe signs.

While knowing the signs may help, the best thing you can do if you suspect you have an eating disorder is discuss it with your doctor.

Sources: Schoen Clinic, Eating Disorders Hope, National Eating Disorders Collaboration
Photo: Pixabay

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